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Charlotte's only a “clingstone’s” throw away from fresh peaches

Posted: Friday, Jul. 20, 2012

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Chef Troy Gagliardo

Chef Troy Gagliardo is a self-taught chef that has parlayed his years of kitchen experience into many other culinary ventures. Including designing and developing his all-grilled restaurant concepts, a proprietary spice line, cook books, commercials, food styling, cooking/restaurant columns, endorsements, cooking classes, and live appearances. Troy has been voted as one of the Charlotte’s Top Five Chefs two years in a row by Creative Loafing readers and competed in the Iron Fork competition both years. Chef Troy has appeared in two national commercials with NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Jr. and joined him for a media tour day just days before Dale Jr. won his second Daytona 500 to start the 2014 NASCAR season.For the past seven years, Chef Troy has appeared each week on Charlotte's morning show WCCB News Rising, cooking his way through "Troy’s Everyday Eats". Filmed live each week at the WCCB Charlotte studios, Chef Troy teaches his unique style of food with a simple approach directed toward the home-cook/viewer.His feature on Rising began in August of 2007, and since has become the most anticipated part of the show. During that time Troy has prepare over one thousand of his creative original recipes live on-air and has made several cooking appearances on the night time show, WCCB News Edge. Chef Troy teamed up with The Fresh Market as a sponsor for “Troy’s Everyday Eats" in April of 2011. Troy shops each week at The Fresh Market for the ingredients used on the show, he says, "The Fresh Market sponsorship is something I have pursued for a long time. I love shopping at their markets because everything is always so fresh. They have a large variety of organic and sustainable food options. As a consumer and chef, I couldn't ask for anything more". Warren publishing recently signed Chef Troy to publish his new cookbook entitled Pseudo Southern-a playful twist on the art of southern cooking, which has been endorsed by Top Chef Alum and best-selling author Fabio Viviani and also star of “A Chef’s Life” Vivian Howard. Fabio said of Pseudo Southern, "Southern food is my second home. It's as close to my heart like Italy is, and that is why I love Troy's recipes so much. They remind me of the childhood I would have had if I was born in the south”. Vivian had this to say, “Troy’s take on southern food is just left of center, fun, and refreshing. His recipes are approachable that even the most jaded cook will be intrigued to try.” Chef Troy is also a free-lance food writer for the Charlotte Observer and Examiner.com and lives in Mooresville, NC with his wife Tracy, of twenty-three years, and their two daughters, Ally and Isabella. He can be seen every Tuesday morning from 7-9 am on WCCB News Rising.

Living in the Charlotte area gives us the best of many worlds. A couple hours from the mountains, a few hours from the beach and in the summer time, we have loads of our own fresh, locally-grown produce.

Also a short car drive away, just across the South Carolina border, we are so close to the best peaches in the world, we can almost smell them from downtown Charlotte. Making Charlotte only a “clingstone’s” throw away from fresh peaches.

Most folks think of peaches as a component for desserts; however peaches are great paired with other ingredients to create more savory dishes. Peaches respond well to sweet and hot peppers, salty, cured meats and even balsamic vinegar.

If you are looking for a great day, get in the car and hit one of our local peach farms, pick your own fruit, come back to the big city and give this flatbread a try. You will have plenty of peaches from your farm pick to also get your sweet fix with a grilled peach cobbler right off the grill.

Black's Peaches, York, S.C., 803-684-2333.

Hours: Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. www.blackspeachesandbakery.com

McLeod Farms, McBee, S.C., 843-335-8611.

Hours: Daily 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. www.macspride.com

The Peach Tree, York, S.C., 803-684-9996.

Hours: Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. www.thepeachtreeorchard.com

Peach, Prosciutto & Goat Cheese Grilled Flatbread

Serves 6 to 8 as an appetizer

The Pizza:

• 2, 12 ounces, pizza dough, homemade, store bought or from a pizzeria
• Olive oil, to coat
• 2 each, fresh peaches, halved, pitted, charred on the grill, thin sliced, cooled
• 4 slices, prosciutto, sliced thin, cut into thin strips
• Balsamic glaze, store bought or follow recipe below, to taste
• 4 each, green onion, green top, sliced thin

Goat Cheese Spread:

• 6 ounces, goat cheese, soften
• 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
• 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
• 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Mix goat cheese, olive oil and both peppers well to incorporate. Leave at room temperature covered, until ready to use.

Grilling the Flatbread:

Let dough sit out at room temperature for 15 minutes. Flour and flatten dough into an oblong shape about a ½” thick. Lightly oil one side of each pizza dough and season with salt and pepper. Place directly over flame and grill lightly on each side, about 45 seconds to 1 minute per side. Remove from the grill and assemble. (Or bake in oven on baking sheet, flipping once until lightly golden.)

Assembling the Flatbread:

Equally distribute goat cheese spread on both grilled flat breads. Top with slices of the grilled peaches and strips of prosciutto and place on the top rack of the grill or on a pizza stone in a preheated oven. Remove from the grill and slice into pieces. Drizzle with honey balsamic syrup, top with green onions and serve.

Honey Balsamic Syrup:

• 1 cup balsamic vinegar
• 1 tablespoon honey

Place the balsamic vinegar in a pan and bring to a strong simmer. Reduce heat to low and add the honey, whisk to dissolve and reduce to about 1/3 of a cup. The syrup will thicken as is cools.

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